By signing Harry Maguire from Leicester City in 2019, Manchester United have taken a gigantic leap towards transforming their defence under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
It’s taken some time for him to make the necessary adjustments to life at Old Trafford but the England international has assumed the mantle as one of the senior figures in the squad, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer praising his “strong character” and resilience following a tough start to the season.
Reports in recent times have suggested that Real Madrid’s Raphael Varane finds himself on the Red Devils’ radar, and his latest performance against SD Huesca on Saturday was nothing short of a masterpiece.
In the absence of several first-team regulars, the French World Cup winner put on a clinic as Madrid came from behind to claim a much-needed 2-1 away win at bottom of the table Huesca. He made a game-high of six clearances at the Estadio El Alcoraz – that being better than his season’s average of 3.7 per game – stepping in front of the likes of Rafa Mir and Shinji Okazaki on multiple occasions to clear the danger for Zinedine Zidane’s men –
Varane, who earns around £172,000-per-week at the Bernabeu, wasn’t just a colossal at the back, however, as he also demonstrated an attacking prowess by bagging a brace to give the Galacticos the lead.
The 27-year-old also boasted two shots on target which was comfortably better than any player on the pitch by some margin as he found the winner after scoring from close range following a direct free kick with six minutes left on the clock.
Former Chelsea star Eden Hazard previously raved about his teammate’s abilities, saying: “Karim Benzema is very friendly and down-to-earth. He’s here to score goals and win matches. I think he’s shown once again this year that he’s quite simply the best.
“Then you have Raphael Varane. I’ve come across some fantastic defenders during my career, such as John Terry and Vincent Kompany.
“I think that although [Varane] is still young, he’s already one of the best centre-backs of all time. His partnership with Sergio Ramos is wonderful.”
There’s no doubting the fact that his heroics will have helped to spare Zidane’s blushes and surely would have impressed the likes of Solskjaer and Ed Woodward had they been watching.
He is equally capable of playing the role of the marauding centre-back in Solskjaer’s defensive pairing, with Maguire doing the dirty work of providing protection for David de Gea in front of goal, or vice versa.
Both comfortable at the back and confident on the ball, he could provide some much-needed stability to their backline after the Red Devils threw away a two-goal lead to draw with Everton at Old Trafford on Saturday night.
AND in other news, Man Utd can find perfect Harry Maguire partner in Real Madrid’s Raphael Varane…